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"Off-campus" Religious Instruction Doesn't Violate First Amendment

Federal court rules religious program giving academic credit not a violation of the prohibition of an establishment of religion.

Federal
State:
Key point. Released time programs, which allow public school students to receive religious instruction off campus during school hours, do not violate the First Amendment's prohibition of any establishment of religion.

A federal appeals court ruled that a "released time" program that granted limited academic credit to public high school students for receiving religious instruction off campus during school hours did not violate the First Amendment's prohibition of an establishment of religion. Since 1992, a number of school districts in South Carolina have allowed students to be released for part of the school day in order to receive off-campus religious instruction. Initially, the students who availed themselves of this opportunity did not receive grades or academic credit, which made enrollment difficult for some students. In 2006, the South Carolina General Assembly found that "the absence ...

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Posted:
  • August 21, 2013

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